In honor of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's recent birthday, I decided to read "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings." Besides a half hearted attempt to start Love in the Time of Cholera I have never read any of his work.
Does anyone listen to or read The Writer's Almanac? I love the little tidbits it can always provide me with. This part of the broadcast I found particularly interesting.
One day in January of 1965, the complete first chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude came to him suddenly while he was driving his car from Mexico City to Acapulco. He came home that night and told his wife not to bother him and locked himself in a room for eight to 10 hours a day for the next 18 months and wrote the novel.
Recently I have been particularly interested in first lines of books and short stories. I have been doing a little study on them exploring why and how they are successful story openers. Marquez's short story starts:
When I read these first lines I didn't know what to think and I still don't. Marquez is know for his use of magical realism blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. These first lines are very real, dropping me into a new world.
On the third day of rain they had killed so many crabs inside the house that Pelayo had to cross his drenched courtyard and throw them into the sea, because the newborn child had a temperature all night and they thought it was due to the stench.
When Pelayo returns to the beach he finds an old man who is later determined to be an angel, but "nothing about him measured up to the proud dignity of angels."
If an angel landed in your life how would you treat it?
Would your motivations change if you knew it intended you harm?
The people of Pelayo's villaage treat the angel as a show and not as a thing of reverence, as a "circus animal."
I am not sure if I liked this story. I am still very confused by the whole concept of magical reality. There is a faith that you have to have in the story, you just have to trust it as real and I haven't aquired that yet. Though I am interested in revisiting this story again to see what else I can learn from it. Have you read this story? What was your reaction to it?
If you are interested in the story but don't think you have time to read it. Why not stop here to one of my favorite Podcasts and have a listen to it. I think it is worth a listen either way and now that my kids are gone for a few days I will be taking advantage and listening to it myself.